Charlie RobertsonGinetta Junior Championship racer Charlie Robertson took his second podium of the year at Donington Park over the weekend, 14th/15th April, during round three of the season – but the event ended in bitter disappointment for the 15-year-old when rammed into retirement from round four.

Heading into the second race meeting of the 2012 season aiming to challenge for a double victory, the HHC Motorsport driver qualified fourth fastest for Saturday’s opening encounter – just 0.176 seconds shy of pole position – and an improved third for the race two grid

Initially challenging for third place at the start of round three, Charlie was shuffled back to fourth but then seized third on lap three prior to the appearance of the Safety Car due to a Ginetta G40 off the circuit at Craner Curves.

When racing resumed on lap eight, the Investigo and Ria Capital Markets-supported youngster held his podium placing well before sailing past George Gamble and Niall Murray on the run into Redgate to grab the race lead.

At Coppice on the very next lap though, contact involving Murray and Gamble led to a multi-car collision and resulted in red flags and an early conclusion to the race. Thankfully, Charlie negotiated the chaos safely to complete the lap in the lead but with the final result declared on count-back from the end of lap seven, he was classified in second place – Gamble not included due to his non-finish.

During Sunday’s televised race, Whyteleafe-based Charlie ran in second initially but was bundled back to fourth on the opening lap. Close behind Murray for the next couple of tours, the pair got ahead of Nathan Harrison and at the end of lap four at the chicane Charlie nosed alongside Murray to try and take second but the Irishman closed the door – leading to contact.

Both recovered, Charlie in seventh and Murray in 10th position, but by lap eight the two drivers were back together. Heading down the flat-out Craner Curves, as Charlie assumed his usual line for the quick right-hander at the Old Hairpin he was unceremoniously shunted from behind by Murray and into a shocking high-speed retirement through the gravel trap.

Post-race, Murray was excluded from the results but the non-score for Charlie means the MSA Academy driver has slipped from third to fourth in the championship standings – 32 points adrift of the series lead.

“Saturday was a shambles”, said Charlie, “I really do feel I was the rightful winner of that race on the track and I don’t think the final declared result was the correct one. Race two wasn’t much better really, I got overtaken by [Niall] Murray and then I did a move on him into the chicane but he closed the door when I was down the inside for some reason.

“We both ended up dropping back and then he just went straight into the back of me at the Old Hairpin and took me out of the race. That’s a dangerous place to make contact with anyone, it’s the fastest place on the track – I thought I was going to hit the tyres but thankfully I didn’t. We should have had two podiums this weekend but, through no fault of our own, we lost a lot of points.”

Next on the schedule is a visit to the fastest circuit on the Ginetta Junior Championship calendar, Thruxton in Hampshire, for rounds five and six of the campaign on 28th/29th April.

2012 Ginetta Junior Championship Driver Standings (after Rd4):
4th Charlie Robertson, 70pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.